Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What happened to me in 2010?

So much has changed in regards to my health since I was last blogging regularly in 2009. Actually, the majority of 2010 was a much better year for me Migriane-wise as I will share in this post. I was doing so well that I left most connections I had to the Migraine community in the dust. Simply speaking, I did not want to think about, talk about or read about anything Migraine related. On one hand it seems very selfish on my part that I would abandon all the avenues that had got me through the rough spots and I am sad I did. But on the other hand, it only makes sense that after years of being chained to Migraine disease, if I had the chance to have a break, that I would want to take it. So, I hope that as I re-join the community I used to be so active in that my story of success with Migraine management will encourage those of you who are wondering if it is possible for someone who is severely disabled from Migraines to ever find relief.

The end of 2009 was a nightmare.  I was hospitalized for another two weeks in October 2009. After realizing he had no clue what to do next, I fired my headache specialist at Diamond Headache Clinic. A phone conversation with Migraine advocate, Teri Robert, helped me decide to travel to Dallas, TX early December 2009 where I received treatment for a week by Dr. John Claude Krusz at Anodyne Headache Clinic. Late December 2009, I started seeing a headache specialist here in Chicago-land, Dr. Lawrence Robbins at Robbins Headache Clinic

By February 2010, thanks to Dr. Robbins, my life was starting to change. It was a slow process. At first I could not have hope for the new treatments I was doing such as Botox which I started that first appointment in December 2009. Up until that point, I had tried so many treatments that had failed that I didn't really expect much success. Dr. Robbins also decided to do a second trial with a preventative medication I'd had moderate success with in the past, Gabitril. I also started a natural Migraine preventative, Petadolex (butterbur).  In March 2010, I started to take a low-dose estrogen plant based birth control pill to enable me to go 3-4 months between periods so that I could avoid the horrid menstrual Migraines as much as possible. Late May 2010, I met with a nutritionist who did an MRT blood test and created a LEAP food plan. The blood test found that I have many food sensitivities that were triggering my Migraines. I started a food plan that included a drastic elimination diet and I currently eat whole foods (mainly organic) that are unprocessed and have no preservatives. After years of being mostly homebound, it took a while, but my stamina gradually improved. By June 2010, the constant daily headache that I had had since October 26, 2005 ceased to be daily. My Migraines stopped becoming as severe and as frequent. By my standards, it was a miracle.

A new life emerged. I read back on old posts I wrote on this blog and cannot believe that every dream I had for my Migraine disease management had come true. My Migraines were still present as were my headaches, BUT they were manageable and I was a functioning individual contributing to society! I say a new life emerged because it was not like the one I had before Migraines/headaches were disabling. Migraines would/will always be a part of and affect my life, but the limitations on my body were significantly decreased. I started volunteering. I took my two year old dog, Zoe, to dog therapy training classes and we passed the test to become a therapy team. I started reading with first graders, using my speech language pathology background to help them along. I also started talking with an organizer at my church to be a part of the hospital visitation ministry. Finally, the most exciting news was that George and I had decided to start a family through adoption and we were knee deep in paperwork and classes.

My life had completely changed as the grip of chronic illness seemed to have relaxed its hold. Though I am currently not doing as well as I'll discuss in my next post, the fact that I had eight miraculous months of improvement showed me that anything is possible. I never believed that my Migraines could be so manageable and because they were for so many months, I know they can be again. Hope is never lost, even though it might seem that way.


  1. I am so encouraged that God has given you such hope despite your current struggles. I'm praying for you and George! I'm glad to see you back in the blogosphere!


  2. So good to hear from you, I've missed you! :) I'm glad you're doing better (or were for a while) and I'm interested to read your next post.

    I have a few questions about Butterbur - how much are/were you taking, and do you think it helped? Did it upset your stomach? I tried too much at first and it did, so I had to stop a while and now I'm building up to a higher dose.

    By the way, congrats on your decision to adopt!

  3. Thanks Rachel! It is good to be back.

    Heather! It is so good to hear from you! I was doing so much better and it was so exciting, but as I'll intimate in my next post, I am not well now we had to stop the adoption stuff, but I'll also write about that.

    As far as the butterbur goes, I am taking 150mg Petadolex every morning. I started out at a lower dose. I have never had any issues with it upsetting my stomach. How much are you taking?

  4. I'm taking the same amount, and the pills also contain feverfew. My stomach's been ok so I think my problem the first time was that I didn't up the dose gradually. Also, I split the dose, taking one 75 mg pill at lunch and one at dinner. Butterbur is one of those things that can take months before you know if it's working or not, so I'm trying to be patient.

    I'll continue praying for you! :)